"There is nothing improper about hedge funds jumping on the same trade unless it is deemed by regulators to be collusion. Regulators haven't suggested that any trading has been improper."
Regulators hadn't suggested it yet; but on the same day that the story was published, the antitrust division of the U.S. Justice Department sent letters to a number of hedge funds attending the dinner, warning them not to destroy any trading records involving market bets on the euro.
Represented at the dinner was the hedge fund of George Soros, who was instrumental in collapsing the British pound in 1992 by heavy short-selling. Soros was quoted as warning that if the European Union did not fix its finances, "the euro may fall apart." Was it really a warning? Or was it the sort of rumor designed to make the euro fall apart? A concerted attack on the euro, beginning with its weakest link, the Greek bond, could bring down that currency just as short selling had brought down the pound.
These sorts of rumors have not been confined to the Greek bond and the euro. In The Financial Times, Niall Ferguson wrote an article titled "A Greek Crisis Is Coming to America," in which he warned:
"It began in Athens. It is spreading to Lisbon and Madrid. But it would be a grave mistake to assume that the sovereign debt crisis that is unfoldingwill remain confined to the weaker eurozone economies."
America, he maintained, would suffer a sovereign debt crisis as well, and this would happen sooner than expected.
"The International Monetary Fund recently published estimates of the fiscal adjustments developed economies would need to make to restore fiscal stability over the decade ahead. Worst were Japan and the UK (a fiscal tightening of 13 per cent of GDP). Then came Ireland, Spain and Greece (9 per cent). And in sixth place? Step forward America, which would need to tighten fiscal policy by 8.8 per cent of GDP to satisfy the IMF."
The catch is that the U.S. does not need to satisfy the IMF . . . .